Mitchell wins Spa 24-Hours Silver Cup 29 | 07 | 2019

    IN TREACHEROUS CONDITIONS, Scots endurance racer Sandy Mitchell scored the biggest win of his career by taking the Silver Cup victory in the Spa 24-Hours race, the Blue Riband event of the Blancpain GT Endurance season. (Related: Mitchell bags back-to-back US podiums)

    Driving his Black Bull Whisky-backed GT3 Lamborghini Huracan Evo, prepared by Barwell Motorsport and partnered by English team-mates James Pull and Jordan Witt, the 19-year-old from Forfar delivered an imperious performance throughout the gruelling race. (Related: Mitchell innocent victim at Paul Ricard)

    At one stage, conditions at the iconic Spa-Francorchamps circuit, home of the F1 Belgian Grand Prix, became so bad that the torrential rain forced the race to be stopped for six hours over safety fears.

    The second-youngest racer in the 72-car, 216-driver field, Mitchell — who missed out on victory in the corresponding race 12 months ago by an agonising two seconds — was understandably delighted with his win.


    “It’s the biggest win of my career to date, and it’s an amazing feeling,” Mitchell, part of the Lamborghini Squadra Corse GT3 Junior Program and a member of the prestigious British Racing Drivers’ Club Rising Star scheme, said.

    “After the disappointment of coming so close last year, when we missed out on the victory by just two seconds, the win tastes even sweeter. (Related: Mitchell's pole and podium on US debut)

    “Winning any race is a big achievement, but to take victory in a 24-hours race, especially at Spa, and in such demanding conditions is a terrific achievement. Those were certainly the worst conditions I’ve ever raced in. 

    “The team put a really big effort into the whole weekend, and I think Jordan, James and I drove really well right through the race, and especially in the final five hours after the restart.


    “We were extremely fast in those final hours and managed to pull away from the second-placed car in the Silver Cup class.”

    Piloting the Lamborghini immediately after the restart, Mitchell gradually established a 70-second advantage over the second-placed Mercedes. (Related: Safety car wrecks Mitchell's Silverstone podium charge)

    “Once the race restarted, we were exceptionally quick in the wet,” Mitchell continued. “We were actually lapping at the same pace as the top five PRO cars in the overall classification.

    “I managed to build a gap of just over a minute to the second-placed Silver Cup car, and James managed to maintain the gap throughout his final stint until the two late safety cars.”


    What had looked like a relatively comfortable, if pressurised, drive to the chequered flag became more intense when the safety car was deployed twice in the closing 30-minutes following two incidents involving other cars.

    As the field bunched up behind the safety car, the 70sec gap enjoyed by Mitchell’s Lamborghini evaporated, and the Scot had to watch nervously as team-mate James Pull defended what had become a slender nine-second lead.

    “Watching the last half-hour on the screens in the garage was pretty tense,” Mitchell, personally backed by Black Bull, admitted. “I was watching a bit, then I was trying to distract myself by doing something on my phone.


    “That last hour felt as long as the previous 23. But James did a really good job to finish the race. His last stint was two-and-a-half hours in changeable conditions, and it was fantastic to see him cross the finish line.

    “James and Jordan did a great job, and I’ve got to say a big thank you to the guys at Barwell Motorsport for prepping the car. This win is as much for them as it is for the drivers.”

    Such was the pace of the Mitchell Lamborghini that not only did it win the ultra-competitive Silver Cup class, but it crossed the line an incredible 15th overall, beating many faster factory cars, teams and drivers.


    Mitchell’s win was praised by Euan Shand, chairman of main sponsors, Huntly-based Black Bull Whisky and Duncan Taylor Scotch Whisky.

    "What a fantastic job by Sandy, James, Jordan and all the crew at Barwell Motorsport,” Shand said. “Any 24-hours race is a severe test, but this race at Spa was hugely demanding because of the conditions. Through it all everyone showed true grit and brilliant spirit. We'll certainly be toasting the guys with a dram of Black Bull Whisky."

    Related: Mitchell bags Blancpain points at Monza

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    Jim McGill

    All photographs copyright of Jakob Ebrey

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